By Dul Johnson
I was invited to the premiere of Tenants of the House wearing three caps: as Writer, Filmmaker, and Film Critic.
It was normal that I started watching with a critical eye, but I soon loosened up and started to enjoy the movie. The performers were incredibly good even though I had a few issues with sound mixes at the start. Lighting was also excellent.
There were only one or two edit points I could quarrel with, but that’s coming from a professional POV. None filmmakers would hardly see those. Besides, there is no work of art that is perfect; not even photographs. I believe that it was a wonderful experience for all who attended.
Now, to the main thing; the reason WHY the film was made. All art use entertainment as a vehicle to drive a point, a message. Tenants of the House is a book (and now film) that’s quite entertaining. But, in the main, it is about political manouvers and conflict resolution. That was clearly brought out, in fact, with emotional appeal and impact in the way the performers rendered these themes.
But to me as a critic (and this is often the case with lit), the spine of the story, the most significant theme (or message) that stands out, and which the film revealed excellently, is PATRIOTISM.
More important is the fact that in spite of the rot in the political system, it is still possible not only to find patriots, but those who can give their lives for the nation. This was so poignantly played out in the film. … and, oh, how we wish this could translate into instant REALITY!
-Johnson is a Nigerian filmmaker and author. He began his career as a drama director with the Nigerian Television Authority, Jos, and worked for many years before retiring into Independent Filmmaking and teaching. He has won national and international awards with his films and dramas, including There is Nothing Wrong with my Uncle (a cultural documentary), The Widow’s Might (a feature film), Against the Grain, Wasting for the West, Basket of Water, etc.